Following our early night, we were up bright and early to hop on the monorail round to DisneySea to utilise our ‘Magic 15’ tickets, giving us early entry to the park, and while some may sneer at the mere 15 minutes extra we were given, it was totally necessary! We headed straight for Toy Story Mania as we knew how ridiculous queues could get, and sure enough, even getting in early gave us a half an hour wait! Knowing how many people would charge our way at park opening, I ducked out of the line for a second to nip across to Tower of Terror (which is right next to Toy Story Mania) to pick us up Fastpasses as I knew that it would also have a crazy wait time after later on, and while I was at it, the park opened and the hoards descended!
With the two big’uns sorted, we continued on around DisneySea. Now you might be thinking ‘that’s an unusual park name’, right? Well it’s a totally unique park! From American Waterfront, which has a sort of Streets of America feel to it, with a huge classic cruise liner docked at the pier, we moved round to Port Discovery, which has a futuristic feel, then into the Lost River Delta. In a very Epcot World Showcase crossed with Animal Kingdom kind of way, this area houses the Indiana Jones ride, set in a huge Incan temple, and the roller coaster Raging Spirits, which we didn’t fancy due to the full loop! From there we moved on to the Arabian Coast, an entire land that is basically Agrabah, with all Aladdin themed rides and scenery, including the Caravan Carousel, which is double decker!
We moved from area to area pretty speedily due to following our empty stomachs to find somewhere to eat, and from Arabian Coast we went into the Mermaid Lagoon. From the outside, you see a few rides, and then the huge underwater palace of King Triton from the Little Mermaid, but follow the path under the rocks, and you enter the kingdom of Atlantica itself! There’s a whole under the sea area with rides, a theatre and Sebastian’s Calypso Kitchen, which is where we settled down to some food before continuing on through the park.
Another of the parks unique features is the enormous volcano at its centre, which is constantly active, spewing smoke and glowing with magma. It houses two rides, a submarine style ride, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which runs through the pools underneath the volcano, and Journey to the Centre of the Earth, during which you travel down into the earth under the volcano, before spiralling up and speeding back down the side, to a great view of the park! By this point in the day it was getting pretty hot, so we grabbed an ice lolly on the bridge across to the Mediterranean Harbour area, and it just so happened that a show was just about to begin, so we found a spot to watch from. Minnie’s Tropical Splash was kind of like a boat parade, with some characters making their way off the boats and into the crowded audience to dance and spray water around, and by that I mean totally and utterly soak everyone in the ‘get wet’ zones. Each of the boats also had water cannons, and they were very liberal with the spraying!
With the jet lag still slowing us down, we decided to head back to the hotel for a little bit, before monorailling back into the park for Fantasmic. Shows and parades are taken pretty seriously out here, with people being allowed to stake their claim of a good spot an hour beforehand, so we got in about 40 minutes before the start, and found a patch behind an empty priority seating area, knowing that there wouldn’t be too many people in front. As an added plus, the cast members ask all guests to remove any hats or Mickey ears so as not to block the views of those behind, which was great! The show itself was set on the main lake of the Mediterranean Harbour, unlike in Disney World where it has its own set, so it was all done on a central floating stage, that could transform into Mickey’s Magic hat, covered in LEDs to show clips from Disney classics, and also have characters stood on top. Maleficent appeared out of another floating contraption, setting fire to the water, with the volcano firing away in the background, and for the finale, the boats of characters circled the central hat. Unfortunately due to windy conditions there were no fireworks, but they made up for that with lights and lasers which were pretty spectacular!
With most people filing out of the park at this time, we jumped on the DisneySea Electric Railway, which runs from the American Waterfront to Port Discovery to see the park all lit up for the night, and wandered back through to Mermaid Lagoon to do a few smaller rides while they were quiet. By this point everyone else was pretty exhausted, so headed back to the hotel, but I wanted to stick it out til park closing so I flew solo for the last hour, hitting up Magic Lamp Theater (with English subtitles), which was just a short pantomime/3D show, before meandering back through the park to get some evening photos and do a little shopping before jumping on the monorail back to the hotel!
DisneySea really is a fantastic park!